The Kwames- January Edition
Handing out hardware to the best and the worst of the month.
by Adam Sweeney / @AdamSweeney
It’s great to be back. 2011 is here and with it comes a world of new possibilities in the hallowed haven of hardwood. In honor of the best and worst basketball has to offer, it only seems right to hand out our very first batch of The Kwames, awards for the best and worst in basketball each month. Kwame Brown even made a few himself, dropping a few on the floor in the process as Michael Jordan chewed him out. It seems some things never change.
The No Man Is an Island Award
Did you hear that Carmelo Anthony wants out of Denver? The buzz surrounding ‘Melo’s departure seems to have been going on since he was a freshman at Syracuse. What isn’t being talked about is the fact that the rules for winning in the NBA have changed. It used to be that if you had two star players and a handful of role players, that was enough to get a trophy. But now it’s impossible to get a sniff in the NBA Finals without assembling a superteam. The L.A. Lakers, pushing for a third straight title, have Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, who could put up twenty a game playing for a lesser team. The Boston Celtics have four studs in Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen. And you may of heard about a certain player who took his talents down to South Beach with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. So, with all due to respect to ‘Melo, if he thinks he is coming close to winning a title in New Jersey, which some sources say is the frontrunner for where he will play next, he needs to stop dreaming in Colorado. Even before the era of superteams, only one team was able to win in the past two decades without at least two star players, that team being the 1994 Houston Rockets. Much love to ‘The Dream.’
The Sooner the Better Award
The Los Angeles Clippers actually have hope in spite of their losing record, thanks to the most ferocious high riser in the NBA, Blake Griffin. Why is a team that is still losing night in and night out so excited? Well, allow me to offer a little perspective. The Clippers are the most futile franchise in the NBA, thanks in large part to the cloud that hangs over the organization known as Donald Sterling. Coming into the season, the Los Angeles Clippers were as fresh as a rap by Justin Bieber. Griffin has flipped that sentiment on its head by telling the Basketball Gods to take their Clipper Curse and shove it. At the moment, there isn’t a more exciting player in the Association. The man actually makes you want to watch the Clippers and the Slam Dunk Contest. Let that sink in for a second.
That said, I just can’t wait for the Clips to put Griffin’s forthcoming Slam Dunk Contest title next to the cherished doorstop that Brent Barry won in 1996. It’s really all they have.
The 50 Million Chinese Fans can Be Wrong Award
If you know me, you’re aware I have a huge amount of respect for Yao Ming, the center for the Houston Rockets. He has helped bridge the rest of world to the NBA and found a way to balance clashing cultural philosophies without succumbing to the pressures of being a No. 1 pick. That said, there is no way Yao should be leading in All-Star votes at the center position for the Western Conference. I know it’s a fan’s vote and with that comes bias, but it’s time for the fans to wake up. Not that there is any chance Yao, who is out for the season with, sadly, another injury, could play to begin with, but sometimes you have to realize there is a fine line between support and stupidity. That goes for anybody who voted for Andrew Bynum as well. Maybe we can have Aaron Brooks push Yao around in a wheelchair to start the game. It’s not like the lane won’t be open long enough to get through. It’s the All-Star Game we’re talking about. Nobody plays D. But for real, Nene from the Denver Nuggets is the man who should be starting. Make it happen.
The Bracket-buster Award
You heard it here first. The San Diego State Aztecs and Texas A&M Aggies are the teams you need to be watching out for when March Madness comes around. Both are ranked in the top fifteen and yet all I keep hearing about is Kyrie Irving’s big toe. Steve Fisher, who will always be respected for what he did during his tenure as Michigan’s head coach, has the Aztecs on a roll and you need to fear Kawhi Leonard and Malcolm Thomas. They’re for real, son.
It’s also time to recognize what the Texas A&M Aggies are doing out in College Station. They don’t have the star power like the Texas Longhorns but they’re playing just as well. Forward Khris Middleton has the men in maroon atop the Big 12 standings as they journey into the heart of Big 12 conference play. How they handle the next five games, which features four opponents ranked in the top twenty, will say a lot about how legitimate this team is. Don’t be surprised if they gig their way to a Sweet 16 appearance this year.